Swept

The wild west coast beach of Piha is a winter wonderland - monsoons of milky breakers crest to rushing creamy lines of froth along the chilled black sand between the arms of jagged rock. We joined a gaggle of shivering anorak-clad, beanie-topped friends, inhaling the steam from paper cups of coffee, eating gritty hot chips and keeping a sharp eye on a dozen red-cheeked children scampering around on the dunes. It was bracing, bright and scoured cobwebs from the cabin-fever that has personified the last few weeks.







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Autumn leaves it's mark



Leaves and I go back a long way.

In the autumn of my eleventh year, my parents and sister went missing in a neighbouring African country at war. The heart-collision of my childhood security splintering into the interruptive terror of abandonment was powerful. Vividly I can recall standing outdoors clutching the strong hand of my grandmother, and tipping my head back to look at the leaves above my head. The unexpected tumble of my naiive expectations to a level of such sinister grief somehow blanched my brain quite blank and all I could focus on were the blurry outlines of the leaves as they twitched and swam across the sky of my tears.

Throughout the rest of my childhood I can remember collecting leaves and pressing them, or rubbing them with vasoline and making them glossy treasures. I used to stack them, crumble them and rub over them with a pencil. And now even as a grown up, I sometimes keep the leaves the cat catches for me at night.
My life doesn't quite follow the dependable, reassuring route I expect it to. Sure, everyone knows that there are traffic jams, road blocks and speed humps - inconveniences that we navigate around with flexibility, a little re-negotiating, tears and we are back on track. But a few times in a life span, there are montrous dead ends, collisions and the journey suddenly halts in a way it has never done before. Sometimes these heart-stopping moments throw us so far off track that it is unthinkable to imagine continuing on like we had before. Sometimes the bleakness of where we find ourselves stranded in is terrifying.

Whatever the abrupt smash of where our unconcious routine meets the rough edge of unexpected reality, something ends. We are hanging by a thread, competely disoriented for a moment. It feels like the rhythm has ceased, that the journey has evaporated and that we are frozen in time.

But the journey never misses a beat and although we are too stunned to see it yet, we have just begun to travel in a new direction, down the trail of the interruption; mapless, clueless and at a loss as to where we are.

It is no accident that around me the leaves around me are crisping up and drifting down. In the autumn season, I see sunlight turning the leaves to pure gold and in the face of the interruption of heart chaos, I can see how for this season, the cycle is still simply turning. Each dying bronze leaf is blown away and there will be stark winter arms raised to the cold sky before spring breathes easy warmth once more.

The journey continues on.

Despite the twists of defining direction changers.

The LORD will surely comfort Zion & will look with compassion on all her ruins;
he will make her deserts like Eden, her wastelands like the garden of the LORD.
Joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of singing.
Isaiah 51:3

{Pre-edited autumn images above courtesy of my sister Abby}

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VIP


Mother's day is not so much for me as it is for the little people I mother.

If it were not for them, I would not be on this journey.

If not for my husband, and our desire for children, it would be an unknown to me.

And the weird thing that tends to strike me is that I have no desire to be the victim of commercial accolade on this day. I didn't do anything amazing.

God did.

I only walked in the purpose He had for me. I did not sit and doodle a human being from design to 3-D. I merely unwittingly took my part in the enormous production of life. If there is one thing that sticks strongly in my mind about bearing children, is how helpless I actually felt.
When trying to conceive. When feeling ill.
When counting kicks and breathing through the contractions.
It all went on in a divine way far above my own puny joystick.

None-the-less, I enjoyed the girl's handmade creations gifted to me on sunday;
little artworks of their footprints pressed into my hands with smiles and squeezes.
Just because I didn't actually physically model them, doesn't mean I don't adore being with them and watching that amazing unfurling of their design detailing.
What a creative manufacturer we have.
And to think He allows mothers a unique first row seat to handle and constructively influence the creation before it is released upon the general public.
What tremendous VIPs we must be to have that honour.

Happy Mother's Day.

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Ode

It was a week of love.

Notes etched in tender remembrance,
Wobbly smiles with welling eyes,
Flowers, family, friends,
Hot soup and hugs,
Rainbows.

C, it was a priviledge to share the moments as they unfolded
and find magnitude in the miniscule as well as the monumental.



They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
we will remember them.
L. Binyon


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Travelling Light



I am flying back to Wellington tonight to hang out with my best friend.

And go to her dad's funeral on Wednesday before flying back home that night to the six little arms and two big ones that I look forward to feeling wrapped around me.

It will be very weird to be heading off alone, I usually always have my entourage. To this end, I have even unpacked the nappies from my handbag. And the emergency cracker supply. And the pouch of Wiggles Flushable Wipes. And the lollipops. And the baby panadol. It figures I should be travelling light without all that stuff. So tell me how is it that the zip on my overnight bag is struggling to make ends meet?

And I have yet to pack some serious essentials like my camera.

And the baby panadol because you never know when you might need to dole that out.

And a couple of lollipops for any kids I meet who have sore ears on the flight or need to be kept quiet in important hushed places.

And a pouch of wipes is always very handy no matter who you are.

Also, crackers might be clever to have, you know, incase food is suddenly in extremely short supply and hot demand.

And maybe a nappy.

Because I cannot bear to take it out and you never know when one will come in handy. Like that time we were out at a corporate show and the woman next to me accidentally tipped over her glass of red wine...and it ran everywhere including down into the lap of her boss. A nappy was a VERY handy addition to the contents of my bag that night.

To a diva, it is shameful. But I fear being a mother is now part of my dna - my double helix is now a triple. That extra strand must have come in when those babies grew under my heart and shared my life blood. What they don't tell you is that the change is permanent. That you cannot shake the motherhood gene off more than you could change your blood type from A to B. That you will never ever ever again travel solo, despite being alone.

Instead you will find yourself standing in another world of grief and black heels clutching your mommy bag of just-in-case must haves because it now simply a part of who you are and you would be lost without it.

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Miracle


Another beautiful dawn. I am a fortunate soul to be able to sit up in bed and look out at the plum blush of the morning, and as the heavens colour up with warmth, I am somehow renewed again in that light. Yesterday was my birthday, and it was one of my favourite kinds of days. A simple one. It involved the mundane routines of caring for my littlies, folding and washing, meal making and working out. There was no sense during the day at all of missing something, of waiting for something to happen because it struck me quite early on, as I sat up and watched the dawn over the rim of my tea mug, that this was exactly the sort of day that I would miss if for some reason I could no longer do what I usually do. I'm quick to wriggle against the demands of being a stay at home mum but the sensation washed over me so strongly, that if I could not be who I am to my little family, my heart would be broken. If my hands could not smooth and fold their clothes and roll their little socks into balls; if I could not make hot chocolates, afternoon tea and nourishing dinners; if I could not keep the floors clean of crumbs and dirt; if I could not bath them and comb the tangles from their hair; if I could not push a trolley of good food out of a store and into a waiting pantry; if I could not tell stories, download their music, hear their chatter; if I could not wipe their faces, dry their tears, or kiss them at night; if I was frozen somehow and my arms could not lift them, my lap could not hold them, nor my voice not respond to them, I would be sorrowful to the deepest part of my soul. This ritual of motherhood holds more comfort, value and worth than anything I could possibly imagine doing and of that, yesterday bought much clarity. Throughout the whole ordinary day, I felt extra-ordinary. My normal blessings no longer felt so normal, they felt extravagant. The lifestyle I was tempted to feel weary of began to glow like the sky - dawn happens over and over and over and over again - yet still it is each time a miracle of monstrous proportions. Each rising sun brings newness and order and my eyes are open and watching it. Each rising sun holds warmth, colour and life, predictability and certainty and the essence of beauty without which all would stay dark. How great is this gift of life?

In saying all of this, my closest and dearest friend has stood for the last two days in quiet vigil at the bedside of her father as he journeyed out of this life. This morning, at dawn, he was gone.

How great is this gift of life?


As for man, his days are like grass;
As a flower of the field, so he flourishes.
Psalm 103.15

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